COVER STORY oil and gas cover

Oil and gas well heads are pictured at Great Western Oil & Gas Co.'s Sharp oil and gas well pad south of Brighton, on June 27, 2019, in Adams County. 

Arapahoe County is administering a survey and two public forums about oil and gas development as officials draft regulations on extraction in the unincorporated parts of the county.

“Arapahoe County designed its balanced approach to take advantage of the revenue opportunities oil and gas development presents while maintaining the quality of life all our residents expect,” said Jeff Baker, District 3 commissioner.

The county pointed to Senate Bill 181, which passed last year and gave localities authority to regulate extraction activity, as the origin of its efforts.

In its annual report earlier this month, the American Petroleum Institute held up Aurora and Colorado broadly as an example of job creation and economic expansion due to the oil and gas sector.

“Aurora has seen success that comes with staying true to its identity, while also creating a path for economic growth,” the organization wrote.

The county's survey asks residents to pick which is most important to them: quality of life, health and safety or having a well-ordered process for engaging the public. Respondents also are asked to weigh in on how they feel about extraction’s effect on wildlife and whether they believe oil and gas development affects property values.

The public engagement comes as there are six ballot initiatives attempting to make the November ballot to increase setbacks of extraction operations from where people live.

The two meetings will occur on Jan. 23 at the Arapahoe Board Roam and Jan. 28 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, both from 5-8 p.m.

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